A fire broke out on Monday in the same building in Anaj Mandi on Rani Jhansi Road where 43 died in a blaze the previous day, ANI reported. Four fire tenders are at the spot to douse the flames.
On Sunday, the fire broke out in the second floor around 5.22 am and spread to the four-storey building from where a number of small manufacturing units functioned. Delhi Fire Service Director Atul Garg said the building did not have a fire safety clearance or safety equipment installed on the premises. The building’s owner and manager have been arrested.
The National Disaster Response Force team said most of the labourers in the building died of asphyxiation, PTI reported. “We found carbon monoxide,” NDRF Deputy Commander Aditya Pratap Singh said. “After which we searched the area manually. The entire third and fourth floor of the building was engulfed with smoke. The content of CO was more.”
The team said some windows at the building were sealed and it therefore trapped the poisonous gases inside the already cramped and dimly-lit interiors. “There was a room, where most of the workers were sleeping, which had only a single space for ventilation,” Singh added. “The maximum number of workers were shifted from the third floor. Due to the burning of the materials present in the building, CO was formed, which explains the reason for high CO content.”
Local people in the area said the buildings were originally used to store grains. Owners switched to other businesses and illegal manufacturing workshops mushroomed with time.
The Arvind Kejriwal government had ordered an investigation into the incident and sought a report within seven days. The government has also announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the families of those who died and Rs 1 lakh for those injured. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Rs 2 lakh as compensation for the families of the dead and Rs 50,000 for the injured.
The incident is one of the worst fire accidents in the national Capital since the 1997 Uphaar Cinema blaze in which 59 people were killed and more than 100 were injured.